Movie Review: GODZILLA

godzilla

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Ken Wantanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche, and Big G

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence, Running time 123 minutes minutes, Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi

Compare to: Jaws (1975), Deep Impact (1998), Cloverfield (2008)

Spoiler free!

When creating a movie with giant monsters as the main characters, it’s a tough balance to strike in how much time to devote to your massive CG stars and the flesh-and-blood ones.

But while a film series like Transformers has had a tough maintaining equilibrium between Optimus Prime and all the kids he hangs out with, Godzilla knows that real thrill is in the suspense and what you don’t see. So you can bet that anything that does happen carries as much weight as the G-Man himself.

Godzilla returns for the first time in years to battle creatures that all exist due to mankind’s belief that he is the ultimate being. Science and status are discarded as mankind struggles to survive the warring monsters that appear.

Don't forget THIS in your memoirs, Ken!

Don’t forget THIS in your memoirs, Ken!

Simple enough, right? One of the great things about the movie is that these giant monsters are taken seriously. Comparisons to last year’s Pacific Rim are near inevitable as they too include clashes of titans. The main difference of course is that the humor and lightness of Rim is traded in for suspense and drama here. Thankfully too, because monsters demolishing entire cities doesn’t always need a punchline at the end of the scene.

Bryan Cranston’s role as the man on the verge of going crazy in an attempt to figure out what’s going on around him does him justice the times he’s there. After watching so much Breaking Bad, it’s strange to see hair on the top of his head with a clean shaven face.

The one who knocks is now the guy who runs.

The one who knocks is now the guy who runs.

The rest of the human cast does great with what they can too. Of course you’re waiting to see Godzilla show up and step on everything but two hours of only that would be a mockumentary alone. What director Gareth Edwards does is create a world first so we can actually feel the impact of everything that’s being destroyed. And man, do things get destroyed.

The man-behind-the-monster Edwards’ previous full length film, Monsters (2010), was a great effort on the “miniscule” budget of 800,000 alone so to see his budget amped up to give the King of the Monsters his due is a choice that’s sure to pay off. Many of the same settings and layout you see in Monsters can be seen here in Godzilla and I’m happy to say that it works.

Some complaints many may have is that Godzilla himself isn’t in it enough. I assume these critics may have been hoping to see a nonstop slugfest between the behemoths but that’s just not the feel Edwards was going for. The action and destruction is something to actually be appreciated because there’s a buildup in the film much like there was anticipation in the real world for the film itself. But you’re not hearing any complaints from me.

They're gonna need a bigger...no. No, I'm not gonna do that to you.

They’re gonna need a bigger…no. No, I’m not gonna do that to you.

Positives: Great acting, great action, the feeling of Close Encounters of the Third Kind or the Science-Fiction side of Steven Spielberg is evoked.

Negatives: None to generally speak of, though so much action and chaos isn’t everyone’s thing.

Grade: A

Side note: No, there’s nothing in or after the credits. You’re welcome.

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2 Responses to “Movie Review: GODZILLA”

  1. D-West Says:

    Loved the movie. Thought it was an international* version of Super 8 – with a better, well-known monster.

    *International in the sense that Super 8 takes place in a small town (and in a different time). There are definitely differences between the films, but both were amazing. The way “monster” movies should be.

    • Taylor Says:

      Yeah, it’s a good comparison. The difference is that Spielberg, or even Jackson’s remake of King Kong, make you feel sympathy for their creature. Where Godzilla is just all beast. Loved it, because people weren’t involved in their world.

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